Friday, September 18, 2009


Scarlet Knight fans can breathe easy again this week as the Florida International Golden Panthers come to town for what should be a snooze fest. The biggest question heading into the game has to be "Will the highly touted Rutgers offensive line, anchored by junior/early first round draft pick Anthony Davis dominate the Panthers defensive front seven or will they get man-handled by the Golden Panthers defensive line worse than Liberace walking the streets of Greenwich Village in New York?" Unfortunately, the Knights did their best impression of the latter in parts of the first two games.

Rutgers will and cover (they are 14 point favorites) the spread but need to do a lot more than that. FIU made the jump to FBS in 2005 lost their opener at Alabama 40-14. Second year head coach Mario Cristobal (and former Schiano assistant) will make this team respectable in the coming years, but he's not there yet.

The Knights need to make a statement with their running game. They were shut down by Cincy and racked up 245 vs. Howard but needed a late burst from De'Antwan Williams to do so. It would be nice to see one back get into a rhythm early and have 150 yards by halftime. The running game needs to be perceived as a serious threat before the schedule picks up when conference play resumes.

The teacher vs. student story line will be interesting as will the Tim Brown - Anthony Gaitor story line. Gaitor will line up at corner back across the line of scrimmage from Brown. The two were high school teammates at Miami Northwestern High School.

This is also a big stage for the Rutgers defense (currently ranked last in the Big East), especially the lineman, who have been inconsistent at best when it comes to putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Sometimes defenses have swarming pass rushes and lack in coverage of the wide receivers. Other times, the coverage is great but pass rush is weak. First year co-defensive coordinators Ed Pinkham and Bob Fraser have implemented a strategy thus far where 11 players take the field and just stand around. It seems that defenders have been told not to make contact with opponents until they have gained at least 8 yards.

Let's hope the Knights are firing on all cylinders tomorrow and bring some confidence on the road to Maryland next week.


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